A best friend is so many things. She is there in the hard and in the good. She keeps you grounded and encourages you to jump. A best friend is so important. You have to have somebody to keep all of your secrets. You need someone to jerk you back to reality when you’ve left the building. My best friend is Amy Jo, and this is for her.
Amy and I met at church. I don’t even know who she came with the first time. What I do know, is that we hammered out a friendship that has stood up to 38 years of lunacy, madness and screwball ideas. We have journeyed to the other side into a bright light of love and laughter.
Amy and I got into trouble. A lot. I can honestly say, she was my one friend that was equally at fault in our endeavors. I didn’t have to talk her into anything. If I suggested it, she was up for it and vice versa.
We were together constantly. She was at my house or I was at hers. Our parents laid a track from one house to the next. Amy and I always went to different schools, with the exception of our eighth grade year. My Mom was divorcing and we moved into town for almost a year. It was nearly impossible to handle the reversal of fate when the divorce was over and I moved back to Yorktown. I was reunited with my friends but was ripped from my life with my best friend. Amy eventually went to Anderson High School and I stayed at Yorktown. The distance never mattered but getting our drivers license greatly diminished our parents part in the jaunt between my house and hers. Besides, that just doubled the amount of boys we were privy to, you can’t oppose that too much.
We were much more free to come and go now. We just borrowed a parent’s car. Occasionally a broken curfew, smoking or disrespect would get us into trouble.
We were NOT supposed to smoke in Mother’s car. She had a new Pontiac 6000. It was spotless and we were to keep it like that. We were sitting at the stop light at the intersection of Mounds Road and the bypass one summer. Windows down (also a no-no), cigarettes lit and music loud. My Mother’s husband pulled up right beside us, looked over at us and waved. Holy crap. I got into trouble and was grounded from the Pontiac permanently. We had a big ‘ol Station Wagon and I was relegated to driving that. It was AWFUL!!! That horrific Station Wagon in the Vacation movies? The same car, only cream-colored instead of green. It was four miles long and had the big wooden panel down both sides. I thought I would die. I totally own now that I had done this to myself, but at the age of 16, this was utter humiliation and I was sure I would die of embarrassment. I loved a boy back then who went to school with Amy, Chris Hooten. I actually met him at church, he came with his grandparents. I chased him in that mortifying way only a teenage girl can aspire to. So, I drove the car. I wanted to see him and he lived across from the Wigwam, Anderson High School’s gym. That was forty minutes from my house, so I drove that damn car. I parked in a vacant lot caddy-cornered from his house, in hopes that no one would notice. That would be about like not noticing I’d had my head removed. No one said anything, though. (Ginormous sigh)
When I was seventeen, I finally got my own car. A 1977 powder blue Camaro. Oh my goodness, I was so excited! My step dad worked at the Pontiac dealership and he took it in to do some work on it. He added a spoiler and took the front passenger seat out to replace it with a new one. He had to order a new seat for the car, so I was left with a new car and only one seat in the front. Amy and I were determined to go cruising. At first, we just tried Amy out in the back seat. That didn’t work. She was too far away. We settled on a milk crate. We set it in the spot where the passanger seat would eventually be and Amy hopped in. This was before seat belt laws. She was just sort of precariously balancing herself on a little plastic orange milk crate. Every time I took off, Amy went flying into the back seat. She would haul her butt back out of the back seat and onto the crate and situate herself and I would have to stop and start again and off she would go. We were so tickled.
This is how all of our stories went. Improvising and laughing and if the night was awesome, libations and a bit of larceny. We watched Tom Cruise in Risky Business a thousand times. We learned all of the Thriller moves. We watched the very first video ever played on MTV, Video Killed The Radio Star. We watched Bandstand and listened to Eddie Money. We went to concerts and ballgames. She was there when I had my children, she cried with me when my grandparents died and she carried me through my divorce.
Amy is a beautician. Or she was. She had an ATV wreck several years ago and broke her back. I happened to be in town for a funeral and Lynnetta called me at Mother’s and told me that Amy had been in an accident and she was in the hospital. I went immediately. She was pretty high but she did remember my being there. Nothing like scaring me to death. Her life has changed drastically. So has mine. We have learned to adjust to our new lives together.
Amy and I now live 500 miles apart. Thank God for Facebook. We see each other when I am home and I am waiting on her to come and see me. (hint hint AJ) I hope you have a best friend. She is so important to me. My children know our stories, I hope her children do too. Find someone to share your stories with. There is nothing as precious.